De Boerenoorlog by Martin Bossenbroek

By Martin Bossenbroek

Oorsprong van de apartheid. Eerste mediaoorlog. Voorproefje van de Eerste én de Tweede Wereldoorlog. De Boerenoorlog (1899-1902) behoort tot de meest intrigerende conflicten in de moderne geschiedenis. Het verschil in prestige tussen supermacht Groot- Brittannië en de twee nietige Boerenrepublieken Transvaal en Oranje Vrijstaat, bewoond door afstammelingen van Nederlandse kolonisten, was once bizar groot. Toch moesten de Britten heel ver gaan om de oorlog te winnen, tot en met systematische terreur tegen de burgerbevolking.

De Boeren leken ten onder te gaan, als tragische helden van een afgesloten tijdperk. Maar na het verlies van de oorlog wonnen ze de vrede. Ze herschiepen Zuid-Afrika in een land van blanke meesters en zwarte knechten. Na het einde van de apartheid werden de rollen omgedraaid. Opnieuw lijken de Boeren ten onder te gaan, nu als tragische schurken. Alle aanleiding om terug te kijken op de oorlog die Zuid-Afrika verscheurde, tot op de dag van vandaag.

Martin Bossenbroek, auteur van historische klassiekers als Holland op zijn Breedst en De Meelstreep, vertelt het hele verhaal, inclusief de cruciale Nederlandse inbreng. Hij verplaatst zich in alle partijen en volgt drie kleurrijke hoofdpersonen op de voet: de Nederlandse jurist Willem Leyds, de Engelse oorlogsverslaggever Winston Churchill en de Boerencommando Deneys Reitz. Nooit eerder werd de Boerenoorlog zo compleet en zo beeldend beschreven.

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From birth, everyone goes through a steady process of ageing, ultimately ending up in death. Everyone knows this obvious fact, yet some people can't help but drift with the daily flow of events. They attach more importance to worldly tasks than they actually deserve. However one fact renders this attachment meaningless: that life in this world has an end. It is the life in the hereafter that has no end. Chasing after benefits that one day will lose their significance is absolutely not wise. Pleading ignorance of this fact and orienting all one's efforts towards worldly objectives may lead man to an irrecoverable regret.

Initially wrinkles around eyes and mouth appear and the colour of the skin becomes dull. The state of the skin of hands and neck almost manifest the old age. Bones become weaker and man starts to suffer from impaired thinking. These are the unavoidable consequences of ageing and man can never stop this process, though he shuns thinking about it: Allah created you and then will take you back again. And some of you revert to the lowest form of life so that after having knowledge, you know nothing at all.

Disease also reminds man how prone to weakness he is. Mere viruses, invisible to the naked eye, seriously affect the body, which otherwise is highly protected against all types of external threats. Medical interventions based on the use of advanced technology and drugs still fail to contribute to the well being of human beings. Microbes penetrating through a slight cut on the skin to body may cause a detrimental consequence like death. Alternatively, a rebellious cell in the body may suddenly cause cancer.

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